Here are two more angers:
(an addendum to the 1.1.2023 post: My Year End Siege of Angers – the list)
Guns: “Eighteen percent of U.S. households purchased a gun since the start of the pandemic (March 2020–March 2022), according to new survey data from NORC at the University of Chicago, increasing the percentage of U.S. adults living in a household with a gun to 46%. Over this period, one in 20 adults in America (5%) purchased a gun for the first time.”1
This is a bit closer to my home than you might imagine. It is perhaps a once-a-month or so occurrence for gunfire to be heard here at 114.
Then in past years, there was the presence of a scraggly old guy sitting at the counter at Bob’s Restaurant on Fairview with a pistol hanging from his belt. This was a regular feature of our Saturday morning breakfasts. For all of its reputation as a tough-on-guns state, open carry is apparently legal here.
What to do about heavily armed people appearing in public places. To brighten our new year a man walked into a grocery store in Georgia wearing all of this:
Perfectly legal in Georgia. Meanwhile, mass shootings are so common now that they barely register anymore.
4.6 million children live in households with guns that are loaded and not in locked storage!2
And the police continue on their rampage of shooting people. “In 2021, police killed 1,145 people; 1,152 in 2020; 1,097 in 2019; 1,140 in 2018; and 1,089 in 2017.”3
Income inequality: I first saw an earlier version of the chart below in 2012. It is the single most important graphic to display the long-term nature of the distribution of income in the US.
A couple of things to note:
- First, productivity ($ value of the output of goods and services per $ of wages) and wage growth followed a parallel trend from the end of WWII to 1979. Corporations shared productivity growth with workers.
- Second, since 1979 productivity has continued to increase, by 65% from 1979 to 2021. But wage growth was only 17% over the same 42 year period.
- For the vast bulk of working America there have been no pay increases in 42 years. Where did all of the money go? Into gigantic compensation packages for top managers; CEOs now earn over 300 times the average worker; stock buy backs and dividends for stock holders.
- America is now characterized by a two class system, a dual economy. The top 20% of the population is the recipient of virtually all of the economic gains over the last 40 years. Peter Temin calls this the FTE sector (Finance,Tech, Electronics…”consists of skilled workers and managers who have college degrees and command good and even very high salaries in our technological economy”)4 The bottom 80% of the population work in the low-wage economy. These are the folks who have not had a pay raise in over 40 years.
This little note won’t remain little if I delve into the history and sources of this situation. For a sketch of this background watch out for my forthcoming book, Capitalism – the actual workings. I will resist the temptation to go on to the topic of wealth inequality in the US and globally……
- Peter Temin, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, 2017.